Youth unemployment in Kenya rose to 26.2 per cent in 2017, according to data from The World Bank. Increasingly erratic rainfall, frequent droughts, and unsustainable farming techniques have weakened much of the soil in rural Kenya; thus, the younger generation associate farming with bare sustenance and discard it as a viable career path. Sustainable farming would enable thousands of young people to earn a living, however, training is underfunded at a government level despite farming being such a fundamental part of Kenyan society.
With an intergenerational outlook, Haller has developed the Youth Farming Initiative; a scheme aimed to tackle youth unemployment within rural farming communities. We have developed a ‘model school training farm’ under the umbrella of our existing farmer training centre and education infrastructure. Here, young people are taught about farming, nutrition and income generation. By utilising spare plots of land at schools to develop student agricultural plots, our model farm initiative is replicable all over Kenya. Haller has also developed a ‘training of trainers’ approach, which integrates teachers and school champions into the training scheme and allows for the project to be sustained by local schools themselves.
The primary outputs of the Youth Farming Initiative are to establish an inclusive curriculum, advance the building of training centres and demonstration plots, and expand the use of the Haller Farmers App as a tool for education. The App provides 60 years of farming expertise to thousands of smallholder farmers by means of an interactive web-based smartphone app. In alignment with the Youth Farming Initiative, Haller plans to add interactive phone games into the app to make the learning more exciting for young farmers.
The Initiative adopts a ground-up approach by reframing sustainable farming, re-engaging the future generation of farmers, and offering real alternatives to unemployment. Through our Youth Farming Initiative, Haller is striving to revolutionise how these young people view farming by giving them the agricultural education and resources to earn a livelihood and lead a healthier life.